James scored 46 points in the losing affair but in the process made history as the first player to score 40 points against every franchise in the league.
The 38-year-old also finished the night with a career-high nine three-pointers – the first player aged 35 or older to hit nine or more three-pointers in a game.
“I put a lot of effort into it and I was able to land some shots tonight to try and help us stay in the game,” James told reporters. “Clippers, they’re really good—exceptionally good—when they hit the three-ball.”
The Clippers made 19 three-pointers during Tuesday’s game, including three by Paul George, who scored a team-high 27 points, and four each by Terence Mann, Norman Powell and Reggie Jackson.
Meanwhile, Kawhi Leonard had 25 points, nine rebounds and three assists.
James has raised his all-time tally to 38,210 as he continues his pursuit of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record of 38,387. By averaging 30.2 points per game this season, James is expected to surpass the record six-game winning streak against the Indiana Pacers on February 2.
He said, “I never thought I could catch Karim scoring a goal, it was never something that crossed my mind.”
“As it gets closer and closer, I think I’ll start to feel it more and more… I got to this place by not thinking about it or even not being in that moment, just trying to play the game the right way.”
Behind James, Russell Westbrook scored 17 points as the Lakers lost for the 10th straight time to the Clippers — in a race that extends into July 2020.
After trailing by 23 points at halftime, the Lakers never looked likely to get back into the game and have now lost five of their last eight to drop to 13th in the Western Conference standings.
He plays next time with the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday, while the Clippers – for three consecutive victories – will play with the Tottenham on Friday.
With his season average of 30.2 points per game, James could surpass Abdul-Jabbar’s 34-year-old NBA record against the Pacers on February 2. Here are the upcoming Lakers games:
- January 25th against the San Antonio Spurs
- January 28th at the Boston Celtics
- January 30 at the Brooklyn Nets
- January 31 at the New York Knicks
- February 2 at Indiana Pacers*
- February 4 at the New Orleans Pelicans
- February 7 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
- February 9 vs. Milwaukee Bucks
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